Right to buy

Abolition of the right to buy

The Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 will end the Right to Buy on 1 August 2016. There are transitional provisions in Section 4 of the 2014 Act to the effect that any applications received before that date/missives following on from such an application will continue to be processed in terms of the existing Right to Buy provisions.

The Right to Buy rules are complicated. We will try to explain them here as simply as possible but please contact us if you have any questions.

Qualifying and discounts

There are three provisions depending on the length of your tenancy.

Old right to buy

The basis for what is termed the old Right to Buy is the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987.

This normally applies to:

  • tenants who were existing secure tenants on 30 September 2002 and have not moved home since then
  • tenants who succeed to an existing tenancy as spouse/partner or joint tenant in respect of the tenancy inherited provided that the tenancy existed on 30 September 2002 and
  • tenants who were existing secure tenants on 30 September 2002 and who have been allocated a new tenancy after that date, following termination of the tenancy existing on 30 September 2002 on specified management grounds.

The qualifying period of occupation is two years and the discount levels are as follows:

  • minimum discount of 32% for a house and 44% for a flat following two years occupation, rising to a maximum discount of 60% for a house and 70% for a flat;
  • discount levels increase by 1% for every year of occupation for a house and 2% for every year of occupation for a flat following the initial two year qualifying period.

Modernised right to buy

The Housing (Scotland) Act 2001 introduced the modernised Right to Buy. This usually applies if your current tenancy commenced on or after 30 September 2002 and before 1 March 2011.

Eligible tenants can buy their house after 5 years continuous occupation and their discount entitlement will be:

  • minimum discount of 20% for any property following five years continuous occupation, rising to a maximum discount of 35% or £15,000 whichever is the lower
  • discount levels increase by 1% for every year of continuous occupation following the initial five year qualifying period

No right to buy

The Housing (Scotland) Act 2010 introduced further reforms to the Right to Buy provisions and ends the Right to Buy for some tenants, subject to a number of exceptions.

You will not be able to buy your house if you are a first-time tenant, or a tenant returning to Council housing after a break, whose tenancy commenced on or after 1 March 2011.

There are further provisions and exceptions to these rules and you should contact us if you are unsure of the rules which apply to you.

How to apply

Application forms and the information booklet Your Right to Buy Your House are available from Conveyancing and Contracts within our Legal, Procurement and Regulatory Section. The completed application form should be returned to Legal, Procurement and Regulatory Services at the address below.

On receipt of a completed application form, tenancy details will be verified and the property valued by the District Valuer. Once the valuation has been received by the Council, Legal Services will issue an offer of sale. It is important at this stage that you engage a solicitor to help you complete the legal transaction properly. The offer of sale will be issued within two months of receipt of the application to purchase and is open for acceptance within two months of the date of issue.

Further information

There is a considerable amount of information available on buying a house. Good sources are Citizens Advice Bureau, a Solicitor or the Scottish Government.

You may want to read the Scottish Government's booklets Thinking about Buying and Your Right to Buy Your Home.

You can also download our information leaflet for tenants on Right to Buy.

Contact Information

Conveyancing and Contracts
Legal, Procurement and Regulatory Services
Council Headquarters, London Road
Kilmarnock
KA3 7BU
01563 576173
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